Racism and Social Capital: The Implications for Social and Physical Well-Being

Elizabeth Brondolo, Madeline Libretti, Luis Rivera, Katrina M. Walsemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Racism can be manifest at the cultural, institutional and individual levels, and can exert effects at the intrapersonal level if targeted individuals internalize attitudes toward their own racial/ethnic groups. The general aim of this article is to examine the ways in which all levels of racism undermine the development of peer relations, one component of social capital; and consequently affect the health and well-being of targeted individuals. The evidence suggests that cultural racism inculcates attitudes that may foster race-related social distancing; institutional racism isolates individuals from the opportunities to develop the skills needed to develop cross race-relations and promotes engagement with peers who exhibit antisocial behavior; interpersonal racism may erode the quality of routine interpersonal exchanges and engender anxiety about interacting with cross-race peers; and internalized racism may undermine the benefits of cross-race peer interactions. To the degree that racism affects the ability to form, maintain and benefit from peer relationships, it can contribute to racial disparities in economic, social and health-related outcomes and undermine the types of social cohesion that promote national unity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)358-384
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Social Issues
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)


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